How to know that an applicant is worth the investment

When you're hiring individuals to work in a career in finance, you're opening a can of worms – especially if you're hiring candidates straight out of college. Make the wrong decision as a hiring manager, and you could end up costing your firm a significant amount of money: the expenses connected to hiring an employee who leaves the position after a brief amount of time, whether they were dismissed or they resigned, can be massive.

So when you're interviewing applicants and selecting who to employ, you can't rely solely on work experience or any other standard methods of measuring competency. A great hiring manager will always focus on the tiny details as much as they do on past employment or any other figures of an employee's potential worth. Here are just a few of the questions that you should be considering before you make a hire, whether you're considering applicants for a high-pressure position like wealth management jobs, or something less intensive.

Are their documents professional?
You can learn a lot about an applicant's attention to detail by studying their resume and how it's structured. You may be looking at an employee with extremely impressive work experience – but if their resume or cover letter is littered with typos or grammatical errors, then you may want to think twice before hiring them.

After all, finance positions require extreme attention to detail. If the job applicant can't be bothered to run a spell-check on their resume, or sees no need to put extra effort into designing it, then is that person someone you truly want to entrust your company's budget to? The professionalism inherent in their application documents can tell you as much about a would-be finance worker as their prior experience will – so don't overlook such factors when hiring your next employee.

Were they cordial?
Manners and presentation can be a lost art in many fields – employees applying for technology jobs, for example, may show up to an interview wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Yet in the finance industry, that's far from the truth. Clients want to see a well-presented firm that they can trust with their money, and your employees need to reflect that.

As a result, professionalism is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to hire an applicant. This isn't just about what they're wearing – you need to assess how they communicate, how they present themselves and if they could comfortably entertain a client for hours on end. You may think their skill in the finance industry is all that matters, but the truth is that you need to ensure that each employee properly reflects your company's mores in multiple ways. 

Did the applicant ask questions about your finance firm?
Answering questions the right way is important – every hiring manager has a number of phrases and comments they're always hoping to hear when they interview potential employees. However, interviews are not an interrogation – they should be a back-and-forth conversation. So when you're deciding whether or not to hire an applicant, you need to ask yourself: did they ask me questions as well, or did they simply answer the queries I posed?

When hiring for finance careers, you want to find self-motivated individuals who will go the extra mile to succeed for your firm. People who ask questions, as well as answer them, are displaying that they're proactive. Any would-be employee should have questions about the firm where they may find themselves working. So if an applicant declines to ask even a single question of you during the interview, it may be fair to assume that they're not very interested in the position you're hiring for, or that they may not be proactive enough to succeed at your firm. 

Is their point of view consistent?
Sometimes, applicants will tell you whatever they think you want to hear to get the job they're applying for. You'll find applicants who write in their cover letter about how they're a perfectionist, then see, for example, that you have an extremely relaxed corporate culture. You may find that very same employee telling you during the interview that they're extremely relaxed about deadlines and standards of quality.

For this reason, you need to analyze your would-be employees as much as you listen to what they're saying. You need to make sure that the profile and standards they present in their resume and cover letter are consistent with the opinion you derive from their interview. 

Are their references reliable – and do they speak highly of the applicant?
This is the most important factor: references. Job experiences listed on a resume can't tell you nearly as much about an applicant as their former boss can. So never gloss over references: if you investigate each one thoroughly, and truly demand that they paint an accurate picture of the applicant, you can ensure that your next employee will always be worth the money you invest in them.